Discover

Normalise Being Different with Divided London
Fashion

Normalise Being Different with Divided London

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Meet Takondwa Maosa, a 21-year-old force of inspiration, an entrepreneur with an unwavering spirit and a semi-professional footballer who defies limitations. As the co-founder and visionary behind Divided London, his remarkable clothing brand is a beacon of change, carrying a resounding message that shatters societal norms and celebrates the beauty of individuality. Takondwa’s journey has been forged by personal trials, bearing witness to the harsh realities of crime and violence that plague his community.

 

As a passionate football player, Takondwa has played at various youth academies and proudly represented Malawi internationally. Football has not only fueled his passion but has also enabled him to forge unexpected connections and friendships. His powerful vision stems from an unwavering belief that no two individuals are identical, even amidst this planet’s tapestry of 8 billion lives. He knows that within each person lies a tapestry of extraordinary qualities and experiences waiting to be unravelled and celebrated. Takondwa strives to ignite a revolution of self-acceptance through his innovative and expressive clothing line, encouraging us to embrace our unique essence and pursue our dreams with unwavering determination.

 

Please tell us about your childhood and the experiences that led you to where you are today.

My childhood was a mixture of ups and downs, and I want to provide an honest answer rather than a Disney-style one. Growing up, I witnessed my mother working tirelessly to support me and my four siblings. Seeing her determination and resilience in the face of challenges profoundly impacted me. It made me realise that I’ve been blessed with opportunities that many people in Africa, where my family comes from, don’t have. I couldn’t waste this chance. Despite occasional arguments with my mom, her spirit of resilience influenced me greatly. It taught me the importance of perseverance, an important quality to possess. As the eldest in my family, I strive to be a positive role model for my siblings and others in similar situations.

My childhood experiences have shaped my character, particularly my ability to adapt to change. This skill is crucial in business, where unexpected changes occur frequently. Learning to solve problems creatively and transform negatives into positives has been instrumental in my journey.

 

 

At what age did you become semi-professional?

I was released from the academy at around 18 years old and have played non-league football ever since. I am steadily climbing the football pyramid, working towards securing a professional contract.

 

What inspired you to start a business while being on a semi-pro contract?

I started a business while on a semipro contract because I believe in never relying on a single income stream, especially in a career like football. Even if I sign with a powerhouse club like Liverpool and have the opportunity to play, my football career is likely to be over by the age of 30. Many people say life truly begins at that point. Considering the connections and contacts I’ve established through football, I saw an opportunity to create a tangible business with personal meaning and value to me while making a living.

 

How did you meet your business partner, and what roles do you both have in the company?

I met my business partner, Daniel Fairhead, in high school. We attended Shoeburyness High School together and were always friends. We used to walk home from school together, discussing our wildest aspirations and what we wanted to achieve when we grew up. Little did I know that we would end up starting a company together. Our roles in the company differ based on our individual strengths and abilities. Daniel excels in photography, editing, content creation, and web design. He’s more introverted and prefers to work behind the scenes, capturing videos and pictures for our brand. He also created our website and handles blog updates. 

On the other hand, I am the bridge between Divided London and the people. I actively participate in local events, networking with the right individuals. As Dr Tru Powell once said, I believe you’re invisible if you’re not. I run the Divided London Instagram page, and we maintain a blog section that we contribute to whenever we’re involved in something interesting. Additionally, I oversee sales and ensure our stock is up to date.

 

What inspired you to volunteer?

The realisation that even dedicating a couple of hours from my day can significantly impact me truly inspires me to volunteer. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through TikTok and my Instagram Explore page, I utilise those hours by volunteering at a charity shop or engaging with my local community. Recently, we had the opportunity to participate in a project at our old high school, Shoeburyness High School. We acted as judges in a “Dragons Den” themed event, listening to business ideas pitched by Year 9 students. Witnessing their incredible creativity and watching them step outside their comfort zones was amazing. Our mere presence in that assembly encouraged them to explore new possibilities; that experience was priceless.

Coming from a background where things weren’t handed to me on a silver platter, I realised the importance of helping others and volunteering. I understood that even small acts can make a big difference in people’s lives and dedicating some free time to help others never hurts anyone. Positive distractions and support can be crucial in shaping someone’s upbringing.

 

As volunteering is currently declining, what can we do about it?

To address the decline in volunteering, we need to create more incentives and change the narrative around it. We need to challenge the notion that volunteering “isn’t cool.” If I were to offer free vapes, many people would eagerly line up, but what if someone reads this and thinks, “It wouldn’t hurt to give an hour of my time to a community that needs me?” Small actions like that can have a significant impact. 

One approach emphasises the value and benefits of volunteering for those being helped and the volunteers themselves. Highlighting personal growth, skill development, and the sense of fulfilment from making a positive difference can attract more people to volunteer. Also, fostering a culture that celebrates and recognises volunteers through awards or public acknowledgements can help shift the perception and make volunteering more appealing.

 

 

Please tell us more about Divided London, where your products are stocked, and how they can be purchased.

Divided London is a streetwear fashion brand with the slogan “Normalise Being Different.” We wanted to capture people’s attention quickly with our motto while conveying a strong message that resonates with youth and adults. In our society, being oneself is sometimes frowned upon, and our brand challenges that by celebrating uniqueness. Our philosophy is that no one is the same, with 8 billion people worldwide, and trying to fit in is a waste of time. To convey our message, we incorporate small touches in our designs, such as our backward “FF” logo and graphic imagery.

We are based in Southend-on-Sea, where we handle all our operations. Initially, we started by shipping orders and creating content in the back of Daniel’s garden. Still, due to increasing demand, we have moved to a dedicated warehouse space. Our products can be purchased online through our website, dividedlondon.com. We were also available in a few stores in the Southend area. Still, we recently decided to focus on online sales and explore new opportunities.

 

How do you come up with ideas for your collections?

Ideas and inspiration for our collections can come from anywhere. Sometimes, I find creative energy just by walking home and listening to a song. We also conduct market research by observing people’s fashion choices, styles, and accessories. Even places like KFC or local stores provide great opportunities to observe our surroundings and gather ideas. We brainstorm together, combining our thoughts and ideas to create unique designs. However, we ensure that each concept aligns with our brand’s philosophy and fits into our brand book. If an idea doesn’t align, we don’t produce it.

 

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced while running your business?

My biggest challenge while running the business is balancing my schedule and effectively planning tasks. Juggling the responsibilities of running a company with other aspects of life can be incredibly hectic. However, I quickly realised the importance of time management and scheduling. I now prioritise planning my time meticulously, even scheduling “free time” to ensure I have moments to switch off and relax. I’ve learned that setting small goals with specific dates in my diary and gradually working towards them is vital. Whether committing to three gym sessions a week or ensuring I secure a celebrity endorsement for the brand, writing down my goals with set dates has proven immensely helpful in balancing my lifestyle.

 

Where do you see the Divided London brand in 5 years?

In five years, I envision Divided London gaining global recognition for our retail success and our impact beyond the fashion industry. I aim to have multiple physical stores offering diverse collections and innovative accessories. Our brand will continue to push a positive message and inspire individuals to pursue their dreams while embracing their uniqueness. Additionally, I want to create an interactive blog where people can share their stories, struggles, and triumphs, fostering a vibrant community around the brand.

 

What have been the highlights of your entrepreneurial journey so far?

One of my entrepreneurial journey highlights was being interviewed on BBC Essex with Rob Jelly on his afternoon show. Although I was initially nervous about such a powerful platform, it was an incredible opportunity to share our company’s core values with a broad audience. The interview allowed people to see me as a person beyond just the “football clothing kid.” It was gratifying to have the chance to connect with others, both on a serious and light-hearted level.

 

Takondwa Maosa is more than an entrepreneur and athlete. He symbolises resilience, an emblem of hope in the face of adversity. With each step he takes on the field, he champions the cause of normalising being different, illuminating the truth that true strength lies in embracing one’s unique path and revelling in the authenticity that sets us apart.

 

Takondwa’s Faves

Favourite dish?

Ramen noodles, especially the ones from Naruto. I love the flavours and the nostalgic connection to the anime. Favourite black-owned business? There’s a local food shop called Blaq Caesarz in Southend-on-Sea near where I live. They serve soul food, and the quality and taste of their dishes are beyond exceptional. I rate it 21/10!

 

Favourite holiday destination?

Dubai. The stunning sceneries, luxurious activities, and vibrant atmosphere make it an unbeatable destination for me.

 

Favourite thing to do to relax?

I find relaxation in watching anime, but I always prefer to watch it in Japanese rather than English. It adds an extra layer of authenticity and immersion for me.

 

Favourite quote?

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” – Tony Robbins. This quote resonates deeply with me as it emphasises the importance of taking that initial step towards one’s dreams. It reminds me that fear and uncertainty should never hold us back from pursuing what could be an extraordinary journey.

 

Favourite book?

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” has been an incredibly influential book for me. It has taught me valuable lessons, particularly about assets and financial intelligence. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking financial education and a different perspective on wealth creation.

 

Favourite podcast?
“Diary of a CEO” hosted by Steven Bartlett. The way he dives deep into the minds of successful individuals is genuinely remarkable. I learn so much from each episode; meeting him one day would be an absolute honour.

 

 

dividedlondon.com
Instagram 

About Author

Team

Leave a Reply